Election Officials Back Down From Logo-Free Ballots

A ballot used in the 2014 snap election, which was later voided by the Constitutional Court.

BANGKOK — Voters will have a clearer idea of who they are marking their ballots for after organizers of the upcoming election said Tuesday they have killed a proposal to strip them of party logos and names following widespread opposition and ridicule.

Election Commission sec-gen Charungwit Phumma told reporters the committee voted unanimously to drop the plan yesterday.

Officials had been advocating for a new type of ballots that would remove any party emblems and names, prompting an outcry from critics and politicians who said doing so would confuse voters. Pro-democracy activists staged a protest at the Election Commission last week.

Another controversial proposal by the commission is to limit who can be shown and named on campaign banners. The rule would ban showing non-candidates except for whoever a party prefers for prime minister.

That would mean Pheu Thai and its proxy parties could not show or mention the influential former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, while parties supporting junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha as the next premier would be free to do so.

No clear rationale for the change has been stated, but it follows a series of new or proposed rule changes that analysts say are designed to diminish the influence of what for two decades has been the most powerful political faction.

Charungwit said the proposal is not yet final and the commission will discuss it with the parties before making a decision.